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UPDATED: 08:53, February 09, 2006
Jihad re-asserts not to join Palestinian cabinet
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The Islamic Jihad (Holy War) re- asserted on Wednesday that it would not join the next Palestinian government following Hamas' landslide election victory.

"We will not join the new government," senior Jihad leader Khaled al-Batch told a news conference held in Gaza City.

He stressed that Jihad committed itself to armed struggle against the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian land.

In addition, the senior Jihad leader ruled out that the group would agree on a long-term truce with Israel.

"Jihad rejects any long-term truce because Israel will see this as a concession by the Palestinian resistance forces," he said.

Along with other key Palestinian militant groups, Jihad agreed on a de facto truce deal with Israel in March, 2005. The ceasefire expired by the end of 2005 and Jihad has vowed no renewal.

Jihad has boycotted the Jan. 25 Palestinian legislative elections, of which Hamas scored a landslide victory, defeating the long dominant Fatah movement.

Bent on Israel's destruction, Jihad has been behind rocket attacks and suicide bombings on Israeli targets.

Hamas leaders said earlier after a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that the group would form a new government later this month after the newly-elected parliament is sworn in on Feb. 16.

Meanwhile, al-Batch vowed to revenge the recent Israeli killings of Jihad members.

"Israel will be held responsible for any retaliatory attacks by Palestinian militants in response to its ugly crimes against the Palestinian people," he said.

"Jihad will not remain silent but will keep its promises to protect the Palestinian people and respond to the occupation crimes," he added.

The Saraya al-Quds, an armed offshoot of Jihad, also declared on Wednesday that it was planning attacks on Israel, while urging members to be on high alert of possible Israeli targeted killings.

Israeli forces have intensified operations against Palestinian militants in the past few days since an Israeli woman was stabbed to death by a Palestinian in central Israel on Sunday.

On Tuesday, a senior Jihad commander was shot dead by Israeli troops in the West Bank city of Nablus and two Jihad members were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Gaza on Sunday evening.

Source: Xinhua

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